No-one likes to think of themselves as ignorant do they? But when starting out with a new venture, as I did with my martial arts school, I took everything a little too personally. As doubt and uncertainty crept into my soul I thought that no-one liked me and that I had wasted my life learning martial arts. My classes were failing big time and I thought that meant I was no good at what I was (trying) to do.
Admit It You’re Ignorant!
But it wasn’t the case. I was good at the martial art I had spend almost half my life doing, I just wasn’t good at running a successful school. I was trying to apply the principles of learning a martial art to building a martial arts school. It just wasn’t the same.
To learn a martial art you need to keep turning up to class, again and again. You need to train hard and keep doing it. This I was good at. But inspiring others and building something, like a martial arts school, these things I sucked at. I didn’t know what I was doing, and this was why my school was failing.
It’s Not A Popularity Contest
I thought that it was my failing personally, that people didn’t want to come to my school. Perhaps some of it might have been! But the biggest problem I had wasn’t my personality, (also some might say so!), rather it was my lack of awareness of how to build a business. I also wasn’t putting myself into the shoes of my students.
I wouldn’t have kept turning up either to the school I had back then. There was no-one to train with. There was only 2-4 students at some classes. I was doing the things that I wanted to do but wasn’t offering the kind of classes that people wanted. I was becoming jaded and it showed in my classes too! This all led to falling numbers and a failing school.
A Change In Attitude
I seriously took a good look at myself and decided it was ‘sink or swim’ time. I had already invested many years in learning, but this was a new skill. I didn’t know anything about building a martial arts school. The first step in changing things was in admitting I was ignorant. I wasn’t ignorant in the skill I was teaching, just in how to build and run a successful school.
This was something I hadn’t trained for. I consolidated my schools into one location and changed my introductory course. I also invested in my business education. It took about a year to turn things around and build up the school, but it started with knowing that I didn’t know what I was doing. Admitting that I was ignorant in the areas where I was struggling was the first step towards something bigger.
Have a look at my recent article on why knowing your return on investment is a game changer. If you have your own experiences of running and owning a martial arts school please comment below.